Cannibal Apocalypse (1980)

One from the re watch pile…

Cannibal Apocalypse (1980)

Film: As regular reading of the To Watch Pile may guess, I much prefer a more human villain in my movies than a supernatural one, mainly because I actually don’t believe in ghosts and ghouls and all that sort of stuff. I admit I do like zombie films, but there is a human horror to them with the loss of identity I suppose.

Anyway, cannibal films are are staple of the human horror film, and for me, and probably a lot of other horror film fans, the Hungry Trinity would be Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox, and this film, Antonio Margheriti’s Apocalypse Domani, aka Invasion of the Flesh Hunters, aka Virus aka Cannibal Apocalypse. Margheriti, also known as the director of Yor: Hunter from the Future directed this film under his alias Anthony M. Dawson from a script co-written by him and Jimmy Gould aka Dardano Sacchetti, who is probably best known for 1990: The Bronx Warriors.

Cannibal Holocaust tells of Viet Nam vet Hopper (John Saxon) who is contacted by a buddy from the war, Charlie Bukowski (John Morgan aka Giovanni Lombardo Radice) who is suffering quite badly from a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which reminds him of acts of cannibalism he committed in a POW camp.

Charlie has attacked a young lady in a cinema and begs Hopper to get him out of town, but it would appear that Charlie’s acts of cannibalism aren’t a learnt trait, but instead appear to be some kind of transmittable disease which causes others to have a lust for human flesh.

Will Hopper successfully get Charlie out of the city, or will their needs outweigh their survival…

I first saw this movie on VHS in the eighties when I worked at a video shop in Sydney as a kid and fell in love with it. Along with The Never Dead (aka Phantasm), Dawn of the Dead, Re-Animator and The Beyond, it was one of my most regularly watched horror films. I like those other cannibal films I mentioned earlier, but I think because I saw this film first it set a standard that the others don’t reach.

… and it’s got John Saxon and John Morghen in it, for goodness’ sake: how could a Viet Nam vey Cannibal film get any better than that?!?

Score: ****1/2

Format: This Umbrella Entertainment NTSC DVD release of the film runs for approximately 93 minutes and is presented in an average 1.77:1 image with a functional mono audio track.

Score: **

Extras: There’s a mixed bag of extras on this disc.

Apocalypse in the Streets is a revisit of the exterior locations of the film told in a stiles and honestly not very well edited way. It is however interesting to see that some of the locations still look the same so many years later.

There is a European and a Japanese trailer for the film.

Alternate US Opening Sequence is just what the name suggests, but the one intact with the film is far better and uses less stock footage from Viet Nam.

Poster and Stills Gallery is a selection of posters and promotional material material from the film and a bunch of behind the scenes pics.

The Butchering of Cannibal Apocalypse Essay discusses the editing of the film in its various releases throughout the world.

Score: ***

WISIA: It is my favourite Cannibal film so of COURSE it’ll get looked at again and again!


Burial Ground (1981) Review

One from the re watch pile…
Burial Ground aka Le Notti Del Terrore (1981)

The 88 Films Bluray cover for Burial Ground

Film: I didn’t get to see all the 80s horror I now love in the 80s, some of it I only discovered since this more permissive age of DVD and Bluray where so many films, previously cut to death or not released at all in Australia, or perhaps were part of the American MPAA slash fest, or nailed to the wall as a Video Nasty in the UK. I am especially thankful to the Australian company Umbrella for giving me an opportunity to see things I never thought i’d see, or things I didn’t even knew existed!

Several years ago Umbrella came up with the concept of releasing several films with an old school E.C. Comics styled cover and amongst those releases was this film, Andrea Bianchi’s Burial Ground The Nights of Terror, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Burial Ground: Peter Bark!!

Burial Ground tells of three oversexed couples, and one twenty seven year old man made up to look like a child (Peter Bark), who visit an old building in the country owned by one of the gentlemen. What they don’t realise is that a nutty professor who looks like Rasputin, has been researching the Etruscan history of the house and has accidentally unleashed a small-ish legion of the undead!

Will this unpleasant bunch of boosh-wah morons survive the undead as they try to get into the house; will they be able to survive… the Night of Terror?!?

It’s a strange film insomuch as it has some below-average acting, bizarre casting, odd underlying themes of incest, sleazy men with hot girlfriends and blatant product placement, but then it has some beautiful surrounds, gore-a-plenty and stupidly awesome zombie make-up… seriously, so-bad-it’s-good nails the description in this case.

Burial Ground: anyone else suddenly feel like a J&B Scotch?

It probably isn’t a film that deserves much care taken with it, but the beautiful thing is how much care HAS been taken with this release! The image is amazingly sharp and obviously a lot of time was taken to clean it up, bravo to 88 Films in that case.

Score: ***1/2

Burial Ground 88 Films bluray menu

Format: This film was reviewed with the UK company 88 Films bluray edition from their ‘Italian Collection, this being number 14 in the set. It was remastered for bluray and looks great, presented in 1.66:1 with an equally nicely remastered 2.0 audio track in English, and an 2.0 Italian audio with English subtitles which is also excellent. 

Score: ****

Extras: There’s a nice bunch of extras on this disc:

A trailer and some audioless deleted scenes, but the funky soundtrack makes up for it. I can’t make a comment on whether or not these scenes are necessary as without the audio it makes them somewhat difficult to read, and ultimately redundant. One can’t have too much Peter Bark though, can you?

‘WTF’ an Interview with Mikel Coven looks at the films of Andrea Bianchi through the eyes of film historian Mikel Coven. It’s interesting and a great overlook of Bianchi’s output, even though Coven doesn’t seem to be a fan of his… or is he?

Also we have a trailer for Zombi Holocaust.

We also have a commentary on the film by John Martin, hosted by High Rising Productions Calum Waddell which takes a fun look at Bianchi history and the production of this film. It’s told, obviously, from a third party source, but it’s funny and interesting, and the two hosts clearly enjoy the,selves.

One last interesting thing, which I have decided to count as an extra, is there is the opportunity to watch this film in a ’35mm Grindhouse’ version, which is another way of saying ‘old VHS’ as there is heaps of static both on screen and on the soundtrack; so many snap, crackles and pops you’ll feel like a bowl of cereal by the time it finishes.

Also, this version comes with a reservable sleeve, an art card and a booklet with an article about the film by Calum Waddell and a small commentary about the film’ s transfer for bluray.

Score: ****

WISIA: I dig it and find it compelling due to its sleaziness and flat out weirdo-ness, you might too, and that is what will make it a re-watcher!

Burial Ground: it’s a zombie!!!

Summer vs Zombruary: Zombie Flesh-Eaters (1979) Review

This film serves a double purpose. It is the first of February, the final month of the Australian summer, and what better way to spend your final month of summer than on a beautiful island, with clear waters to sail upon, and the undead who wish for your destruction. Also, this is the first review of the To Watch Pile’s Zombruary: a whole month of nothing but reviews of zombie films!
One from the re watch pile…
Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)

Zombie Flesh-eaters: The Arrow Bluray steelbook… unfortunately mine is battle damaged!

Film: I love Lucio Fulci films as they appeal to all the things I love about horror: the disturbing tale, the gore, the nudity, the violence, and especially in Fulci’s case, the sheer oddball-ness of it, or as ‘proper’ educated film critics may put it, his use of surrealism to convey the supernatural.

But I’m just some dude who likes horror movies, so I probably wouldn’t say that!

An abandoned ship enters New York Harbour with a soul occupant who attached a harbour police officer before being shot, and knocked off board. The owner of the boat’s daughter, Anne (Tisa Farrow) is notified of the murder and decides to sneak onboard to see if she can what happened to her missing father, who did not return with the vessel.

Zombie Flesh-eaters: Ian McCulloch and Tisa Farrow using the 70s version of a mobile phone.

When she sneaks onboard, which is being guarded by the NYPD, she meets reporter Peter West (Ian McCulloch) who is looking for a story, and the pair of them quickly team up to back track her father’s movements to find where he has been, and what may have happened to him. They charter a boat owned by Brian Hull (Al Cliver) and his lovely girlfriend, Susan Barrett (Auretta Gay) and make their way to the island of Matul.

…but what they find is a seemingly mad doctor, Dr Menard (Richard Johnson) fighting against the undead!!! Will they find out what happened to Anne’s father? Will all of them escape the island alive? Is this the beginning of some kind of zombie holocaust; some kind of dawn of the dead?

This isn’t my favourite Fulci film: The Beyond has that honour, but instead this still sits high on the cool list for me. 

First up it’s cool that a zombie film of this period actually has a reason for the dead coming back and it’s not just some kind of facility for cinema to tell us about ourselves. I love the fact it’s just a film about zombies, and not ‘consumerism’ or whatever.

Then its just the flat out insanity of some of the scenes: the zombies aren’t freshly dead like in Dawn of the Dead, they look almost mummified and have a real creepy texture about them. Except for one, the one that fights the shark, near the basically naked Audretta Gay in a g-banger and a scuba tank.

Zombie Flesh-eaters: surf ‘n’ turf

Finally, the gore is just so fantastically over the top one can’t help but just marvel at it, I mean, it’s not extraordinarily realistic, but even to attempt some of the ideas in a world of practical effects is absolutely awe inspiring. Even going back around to the zombie versus shark sequence, one can’t help but marvel at the job.

Basically, this movie is awesome. Get it, watch it, love it!

Score: *****

Zombie Flesh-eaters Bluray menu screen

Format: The film is presented in a really nice 2.35:1 restoration with a choice of two excellent audio tracks, English or Italian, in Dolby Digital 2.0. It’s never looked at good as this, for certain!


Extras: Not sure if it’s an extra or not, but there is the opportunity to watch this film as either Zombie Flesh-Eaters, Zombie or Zombi 2. Which ever one you pick, it’s introduced by Ian McCulloch, and it’s really just a change in the title card and nothing else. Is that an extra? I’m not sure, but I thought it bore mentioning!

Also the release I have is a pretty fancy steelbook with some cool original art, and the packaging contains an excellent booklet with articles by Stephen Thrower, Calum Waddell and Craig Lapper, photos of the original script with comments by Jay Slater, Fulci’s CV and a full cast and crew list, all fully illustrated.

Outside of that it’s an Italian smorgasbord of extras. This disc treats us to two commentaries, one with Elisa Briganti who co-wrote the film with her husband Dardano Sancchetti and the other with U.K. horror journalists Stephen Thrower (writer of Nightmare USA) and Alan Jones (writer of Dario Argento: The Man, The Myth and The Magic). Both are fascinating, with Briganti’s being a fantastic look at the making of the film and the Thrower/ Jones one is a fantastic retrospective from two movie journalists, and fans, with whom I have a lot of respect.

Next we have a documentary called From Romero to Rome: The Rise and Fall of the Italian Horror Film. Starting at Night of the Living Dead, but with reflections upon older ‘zombie’ films, it looks at the Italian output in reference to Romero’s output. It’s a great look at zombie films for zombie fans.

There is a heap of trailers and advertising material here, with a U.S. trailer, the Vipco trailer, 2 TV trailers and some radio spots.

Then we have a second disc of just extras!

The first on this disc is called Aliens, Cannibals and Zombies: A Trilogy of Italian Terror which sees Ian McCulloch discuss his acting career.

Zombie Flesh-Eaters: From Script to Screen sees doco director Calum Waddell totally nerd-out (and rightly so!) at an original copy of the script with Dardano Sacchetti.

Music for a Flesh Feast is a Q and A with Fabio Frizzi which is pretty interesting look at how a composer approaches a film.

The Meat-munching Movies of Gino De Rossi is a special effects doco featuring the work of Italian special effects artist De Rossi.

Score: *****

WISIA: I couldn’t actually accurately tell you just how many times I have watched this film, it’s awesome!

Zombie Flesh-eaters: here’s worms in ya eye!


Top Sensation (1969) Review

One from the to watch pile…
Top Sensation aka The Seducers (1969)

Film: Shameless Screen Entertainment have to be given credit for releasing some movies that most companies would never even give a sly sideways look at. This film, aka The Seducers is probably one of those films… I can’t really see Disney or Sony whipping this out amongst their cheery chick flicks, sad message-filled animated tear-jerkers and rom coms!

This film was written and directed by Ottavio Alessi, who gave us the films Emanuelle in America and Emmanuelle in Bangkok, which should be a fairly big clue as to what to expect with this film. It was co-written by Nelda Minucci, whom has no other cinematic credits and Lorenzo Riciardi, who did a few bits and pieces but is really only known for directing 1961’s Venera Creola.

Ok, so buckle up for this story!

Mudy (Maud Belleroche) wants her clearly brain damaged son, Tony (Ruggero Miti) to lose his virginity, so she invites her friends of loose morals, married couple Aldo (Maurizio Bonuglia)and Paola (Rosalba Neri) and whore Ulla (Edwige Fenech) on a sailing boat trip to help him with his ‘problem’.

Unfortunately, their boat gets stuck on a sandbar and they attempt to get help from the goat farmers on the island close by, engaging in various disturbing sexual adventures here and there, but Tony is quite taken by the farmer’s wife Beba (Eva Thulin) and when Aldo spots this he starts machinations to get her to pop his cherry, which include kidnap.

This of course leads to further crimes on their cruise of doom….

This is when of those times that even though a film may not be very good, at least someone has gone to the trouble of restoring it to their best efforts. I would rather see a film, no matter how bad, than think it may have been lost forever.

To that point, having a film with both Edwige Fenech and Rosalba Neri restored isn’t a bad thing in the slightest.

*sigh* Edwige….

This would definitely make a disturbed double feature with Nico Mastorakis’ Island of Death, though that film is far superior… Yeah, that’s right: I’m saying that Island of Death is BETTER than something else! Over and above any issues with the actual restoration, the problem with this film is the film itself. Sure there is some great footage of Fenech, Neri and Thulin ever so slightly in states of undress, and even some of the scenery is beautiful, but the story isn’t compelling, the ending is flat and some of the acting is overblown and annoying.

The real difficult thing for me is I really like to see cruel people punished at the end of films, and there doesn’t seem to be any come uppence in this film, which would be OK if it attempted to be a dark, disturbed film, but it doesn’t come across as that either, possibly due to the performances being almost pantomime, but also due to the summery, holiday environment.

Basically, one shouldn’t attempt to sell a film on the basis that one of the female characters gets cunnalingus from a goat.

Score: **

Format: It’s difficult to judge this film too harshly on its quality as it is a rebuild of a film from 1969 that Shameless had done of the total film from a variety of sources, but I have to report honestly. This release goes for 91 minutes and the visuals, presented in 1.33:1 is covered in various artefacts and hairs and isn’t very sharp! The sound comes in Dolby Digital 2.0 and switches with no warning from English to Italian (with English subtitles) throughout. I guess you don’t want a warning, as that may make the film a bit stuttered, and you do eventually get used to it, to the point you don’t even really notice it at all!

Score: **

Extras: The disc opens with trailers for future Shameless release The Sect, and current releases of The Sister of Ursula and Formula for a Murder, before hitting the menu screen.

Of Goats and Boats is a subtitled feature lincensed by Shameless from Cinema Obscura and is a series of interviews with Rosalba Neri and Salvatore Puntillo. Interesting for us and nostalgic for them, I think.

The alternate ending was just stupid, and really, not entirely different.

Whilst I am normally a detractor of stills galleries, this one was OK as it wasn’t just freeze frames from the movie but instead was a selection of promo material for the film, done as a slide show over a portion of the soundtrack.

There is also a trailer park, featuring trailers of The Bronx Warriors Trilogy, Love Goddess of the Cannibals, Satan’s Baby Doll, Beat in Space, New York Ripper, Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh, Cannibal Holocaust, Almost Human, Don’t Torture a Duckling, House on the Edge of the Park, Foir Flies on Grey Velvet, Dellamorte Dellamore, Amsterdamned, The Nurse, Viva, Formula for a Murder, 10th Victim, Contraband, Washing Machine and The Sister of Ursula.

I have to also point out I am a sucker for a reversible sleeve, and this has one as seen above, and another that’s pretty average, but it’s the thought that counts.

Score: ***1/2

WISIA: I don’t want to seem harsh, but I can’t imagine ever needing to ever watch this film ever again for any reason whatsoever.


Zombi 3 aka Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 (1988) review

One from the re watch pile…
Zombi 3 aka Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 (1988)

Film: I have a very special place in my heart for the work of Lucio Fulci. Why? Because he’s freakin’ AWESOME! I was brought up on some of his films on VHS, specifically The Beyond and City of the Living Dead, and since the advent of DVD and Bluray, I’ve been able to expand my exposure to his work, and even though there are several missteps, and a lot of nutso stuff pumped out of his factory, I have a great affection for it all.

Ok, I’ve gotten the fanboy stuff out of the way, now for the ‘professional’ review, and I’ll point out that even though I like watching his films, I am well aware of the shortcomings of some of them. This film, known as both Zombi 3 and Zombi Flesh Eaters 2, is a real item of its time. It riffs on so many films, such as Return of the Living Dead and The Crazies, but doesn’t have the budget, or talent either in front of the cameras, or tragically behind them.

This film was written by Claudio Fragasso, though IMDB mentions Rossella Drudi who wrote Troll 2, and this is such a dog’s breakfast I see no reason why that wouldn’t be true, but her involvement isn’t the only reason for this film’s confusion. Fulci had a stroke during production, and the directorial reigns were handed to both Fragasso and second unit director Bruno Mattei, who dumped some of Fulci’s 70 minute cut, taking it to 50 minutes, and added 40 minutes of their own footage.

When a toxin is stolen from a research lab, it accidentally infects the thief. The toxic dies once airborne, but when transfer from human to human, via blood, or breath (hang on, isn’t that ‘airborne’?) or saliva, or other gooey, mucusy bits, it turns the infected into a violent, zombie-like crazy.

The original thief is found and his body destroyed by the army in a crematorium, but the doctor’s inform them that this was a stupid idea as the smoke could transfer the virus… You know, airborne (as fire cause it to mutate, obviously)… and infect even more people, or…um… Birds.


… And yes, birds and people are indeed infected and a zombie outbreak happens, as we follow a small group of holiday-makers and on-leave soldiers as they try to survive…

Ok, so there is so much wrong with this film. The cinematography is terrible at some points, one in particular is a car hood mounted camera looking into a windscreen that has a strong reflection on it, completely obscuring the occupant of the vehicle. Some of the dialogue is either completely crap, or ‘borrowed’ directly from Return of the Living Dead, also stolen from ROTLD is the way some of the music cues are presented: actually ROTLD is a source for a lot of the film. Especially fun is the acting… Well, the over-acting. The main Doctor character acts like he is in a Power Rangers outfit: you know what I mean, hands waving around, head wobbling and you know what a William Shatner impersonation sounds like? Well he talks like that!

In spite of, or maybe (probably) because of these reasons it’s actually entertaining. I mean, your mate who loves big budget, world destroying CGI fests is not going to find much here to enjoy, but you spaghetti-loving, Italian film fans are gonna roll their eyes in ecstasy.

Be warned: this isn’t a good film, it’s a fun roller coaster!

Score: **

Format: The film was reviewed as a part of 88 Films’ ‘The Italian Collection’. It is a region B Blu-ray Disc presented in 1.66:1 widescreen with a LPCM 2.0 track, both of which are pretty good.

Score: ****

Extras: Wonderful extras live in this two disc set. The first disc gives us alternate Italian opening and closing sequences, interviews with Dell’acqua (in a piece called Veteren of the Living Dead) MacColl (in a live Q & A with terrible sound), Ring (Zombie Reflections which is more a stills gallery with a voiceover about her career played over it, nothing wrong with that but again, the audio is substandard) and Fragasso, and a trailer reel featuring Children of the Corn, Don’t Go In The Woods, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, Live Like A Cop, Die Like A Man, Mother’s Day, Slaughterhouse, Trancers and Splatter University.

The second disc, called ‘Paura: Lucio Fulci Remembered’ is a collection of interviews divided into three sections: Accomplices (his cohorts in the making of his films), Peers (other Italian directors of the period), and Victims (his actors and actresses). It is a nice collection of tributes and anecdotes of the man, and something Fulci fans will enjoy.

Score: *****

WISIA: It’s dumb, but it’s fun, so yeah, even though it got a low score, I’d probably watch it again for kicks.


Deep Red (1975) Review

We made it, the final day of our ‘three colours Italian’, and what better way to celebrate then ‘red’ stripe on the Italian flag than with a favourite film of mine, Dario Argento’s Profundo Russo aka Deep Red!
One from the re watch pile…

Deep Red (1975)

Film: It wasn’t until Umbrella Entertainment in Australia started releasing Dario Argento’s films in the early 10s that I really started paying attention to who Dario Argento was. Sure I’d had a casual dalliance with him via Suspiria and Creepers (aka Phenomena), but my go-to guy for Italian horror was Lucio Fulci and his zombie flicks. I had, however heard and read a lot about Argento in Fangoria and was interested in seeing his work, so when Umbrella his the accelerator on things like Suspiria, Phenomena, Tenebrae, Sleepless etc I was ready to roll.

The ones that really captured my imagination though, were this film, Deep Red, and the aforementioned Tenebrae, which turned me from casual English speaking thriller fan to full tilt lover of Gialli.

This film, directed by Argento, was written by him along with Bernardino Zapponi, a writer who also worked on such legendary pieces of Italian cinema as Fellini’s Satyricon and Roma.

Deep Red tells of pianist Marcus Daly (David Hemmings) who has witnessed the murder of renowned psychic Helga Ulman (March Méril), a Oman who recently publicly outed a mystery person as a murderer. In the back of his mind, Marcus feels he has seen something important to the identity of Ulman’s killer, but can’t quite put his finger on it. He enlists the help of friend Carlo (Gabriele Lavia) and annoying, but tenaciously cute reporter Gianna (Daria Nicolodi) to dos little private investigation, but what he finds is that maybe the killer is closer than he ever suspected…

This disc has two versions of the film in the packaging, both remastered in hi definition. Disc 1 contains the director’s cut of the film which is longer and tells a more intimate version of the tale. The second version on the film on disc 2, is the shorter English version of the film. Even though each tell more or less the same story, I do prefer this one, and watch it more often than the other. Why? Well my reason is, and this is an affront to everything we as cinemaphiles think and that is, what is cut isn’t really necessary to move the story along. Sure some of it is character building stuff, but you don’t miss it in the theatrical version, and to me it tells the story more efficiently. Also, in the director’s cut, the police seem buffoonish and don’t suit the overall tone of the film.

My love of Argento films is defined by this film and two others: Suspiria and Tenebrae. As a murder mystery, it’s perfect and the violence shocking and sudden. It engages with the topic of homosexuality that films of this era rarely did without being insulting, nor with any trace of ‘whoopsie’, you know: the John Inman-ish mincing. The best thing about this film though is the staging of each scene; Argento appears to be a frustrated painter as each scene has a rhythm, and a layout that is visually striking.

A special note has to be made for the inclusion of someone whom I think is the Princess of Gialli, Nicoletta Elmi. This young redhead girl appears in many films of this era, and judging by her appearance in Demons, grew to be a beautiful lady. For my she’s like a ‘Where’s Wally? special guest star.

The soundtrack is amazing too. I’ll bring up Tenebrae here again as the Goblin score on Deep Red is second only to that one. Most modern day soundtracks seem to disappear within the background, but the score here is like a palpable character whose presence effects the viewers state of mind, like a good score should.

All in all, I love this film. It’s a great watch, a sound thriller and has an epic score. You really need to have this in your collection!

Score: *****

Format: The Arrow bluray release of the film is presented in the 127 minute director’s cut, or the 105 minute theatrical cut, and is presented in a well restored 2.35:1 anamorphic image with various choices of sound, the best being the director’s cut Italian 5.1. If you watch the director’s cut in the English 5.1 audio you have to be aware of the fact that the dialogue switches from English to Italian. Across the board though both image and sound are great.

Score: ****


This disc has some really awesome extras across two discs, and for an Argento fan (like me) it’s quite entertaining.

Disc 1 has both a US and Italian Trailer, Lady In Red – Daria Nicolodi Remembers Profundo Russo, Music to Murder For – Claudio Simonetti on Deep Red and Rosso Recollections – Dario Argento’s Deep Genius

Disc 2 has the documentary Rosso: From Celluloid to Shop which is basically an interview with Luigi Cozzi, director and the gentleman who runs the horror store/ museum in Rome, Profundo Rosso.

This Arrow edition also came with a choice of 4 different covers for the sleeve, a double sided poster featuring the new artwork and a booklet by Alan Jones, the author of Dario Argento – The Man, The Myth & The Magic. There is also a commentary by Argento specialist Thomas Rostock, which sounds very stilted by is quite fascinating.

For a fan of gialli and/ or Argento there is heaps to enjoy here!

Score: *****

WISIA: It is one of my all time favourite movies,and I probably watch it once every 6 months, so definitely!


Jungle Holocaust (1977) Review

Today is the first day of our Italian Festa Della Repubblica celebration, and for the next three days we’ll have a film representing a colour of the Italian flag. The first colour is, of course, green, and what better way to celebrate ‘green’ Italian cinema than with a cannibal/ jungle film…One from the to watch pile…

Jungle Holocaust aka Last Cannibal World (1977)

Film: Also known as Ultimo Mondo Cannibale.

I became a cannibal film fan late in my love of horror films. During the VHS era I was more interested in zombie films and American stuff, though I had seen Survive and Cannibal Apocalypse. It wasn’t until DVD that I saw Cannibal Holocaust for the first time, and was completely won over by what I magnificent film it was, not just as a genre/ horror/ exploitation film but also as a thriller about how no matter where you walk on earth you have an effect, sometimes positive, sometimes negative. This of course led to to pursue other cannibal films, and even though I have had this in my collection for a while, I had never actually watched it.

It is directed by Cannibal Holocaust’s director Ruggero Deodato, from a script by Tito Carpi, Gianfranco Clerici and Renzo Genta.

Robert Harper (Massimo Foschi) travels to Malaysia to visit a group of employees, but the airstrip has gone to ruin and his plane crashes upon landing. Soon, the pilot and his female companion are killed by a local tribe of natives, and Harper finds himself separated from his companion Rolf (Ivan Rassimov).

Harper is quickly captured by the locals and is tortured and humiliated by the tribe, though one girl, Pulan (Me Me Lai) offers him sympathy… And a hand shandy ( I guess that’s why her name is ‘Pulin’).

Of course, he is desperate to escape, but will he? Is he forever trapped?

I have to say I’m luke warm on this. This film came before Cannibal Holocaust and a lot of this feels like a testing ground for what comes after. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that, but occasionally it is hard to make a proper judgement on something when seen out of release order. I am sure if I had seen this before the others my opinion would be different.

That’s not to say it doesn’t tell a great story about the jungle environment, and what men might do to survive, and the three leads are quite good in their roles, and Me Me Lai isn’t too hard on the eyes at all!

I will point out, if nudity, or particularly male nudity, and I’m talking full frontal, sack up close nudity either offends or threatens your masculinity, avoid this film. There more sausage in this film than at a German butchers.

Also, animal cruelty is present in this film, though Deodato claims, in an introduction, that he was not responsible for it. If you have a tender sensibility or a weak stomach, boy oh boy is your constitution gonna be tested.

…aaaaand as far as feminism is concerned, well the offence may continue. I don’t admit to knowing anything about it, but I am sure a native girl who suffers from penis envy, and falls for a guy after he slaps her around and then rapes her isn’t a feminist icon.

Ok, so if your offended by nudity, a vegan or a feminist, you probably shouldn’t watch this.

For me this is far from the best cannibal films around, but I am glad I have now seen it as I can add it’s viewing to my list of cannibal films.

Score: **

Format: This review was done using the apparently uncut, 2001 Shriek Show release on region 1 DVD. It runs for approximately 88 minutes and is presented in a 2.35:1 video with Dolby 2.0 stereo audio. The picture is quite clear, but occasionally a touch soft and has a mild amount of tiny artefacts here and there. The sound though is pretty damn good.

Score: ***

Extras: Not a bad amount of extras can be found on this disc, including Memoirs From The Jungle which is broken up into Materials Archive, which is a series of promotional posters and lobby cards for the film, an interview with Massimo Foschi, some personal snapshots of the film taken from Foschi’s collection and another interview, but this time with Ivan Rassimov.

The original trailer is also here (though as Last Cannibal World), as well as text pieces of the director’s filmography, and Talent Biographies of Deodato, Foschi, Lai and Rassimov.

There is also a director’s commentary performed by Ruggero Deodato, though he does it in his native Italian, with English subtitles, and wow, he comments on everything. Fascinating!

There are also trailers for Beyond the Darkness, Zombie Holocaust, Nights of Terrors (sic) and Eaten Alive.

Score: ****

WISIA: In a world where Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Apocalypse and Cannibal Ferox exists; I probably won’t watch this again.